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The importance of Counselling and Therapy

Counselling in these current times is necessary even more than before.  The idea that “It’s only for people who are mentally ill”, “I don’t want to be judged because I go to counselling” and “Only weak people go to counselling/therapy” is  very untrue.  These statements are a summary of the very popular but non-factual  stigmas of many individuals throughout varying societies across the world. However, what really is counselling? How can you stand to benefit as an individual or seek to encourage someone you know to get help?

In essence, counselling is providing professional assistance to a client emotionally or intellectually to support with a  social, psychological, or personal challenge faced. Counselling teaches you how to build healthier thoughts, patterns, and coping mechanisms. Counselling is a relationship of trust between client and counsellor.

Often, counselling is only considered when significant difficulties are faced. Difficulties can include grief (loss of a loved one, pet or even job), anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, PTSD and drug or alcohol abuse. The truth is if counselling and therapy were viewed otherwise, some of the above challenges could be prevented or better dealt with all together.

Counselling creates the avenue for the therapist to interact with you through life processes. Counselling places you in the front seat of your life and causes you to be present to navigate through challenges or growth in a healthy manner. Counselling improves communication and the management of emotions. Counselling promotes self-esteem and self-acceptance and better problem-solving strategies. Finally, it creates the ability to change destructive habits and behaviours, manage stress and provides relief from mental ill-health challenges (e.g. anxiety and depression).

The judgement experienced when deciding to have counselling is really a stigma. The stigma is not only personally based but also heavily societal. Concerning the male gender, the stigma for counselling is considerably higher. The societal view of a male is one that is ‘macho’. The male who is sensitive and connecting with their emotional side is viewed in society as ‘overemotional’ ‘unnatural’ or in popular terms ‘not a true man’. Sadly, our males are ostracized and not allowed to genuinely seek help without being perceived as soft. This is as a result of longstanding stigmas in society that are constantly encouraged.

Counselling is now becoming more widely accepted and it is essential for the black community to be supported in ways they have never been supported before.

Talk therapy (counselling) has proven to be the key component to overcoming difficult mental challenges experienced by young people and adult males and females. Counselling can only be truly beneficial when you observe the need for assistance and seek it accordingly. The ability to ask for help removes the stigma attached because this displays strength rather than weakness. Counselling allows you to take charge of your life positively.

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